[WASHINGTON] Defeated Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Tuesday ruled out a third-party run against presumptive nominee Donald Trump, acknowledging disappointment about his loss and refusing to say whether he could back the celebrity billionaire.
"I have no interest" in mounting a rival bid in the general election, the senator from Texas told a crush of reporters as he returned to the US Senate for the first time since his year-long White House run came to an end last week.
He said the frustration with the establishment in the 2016 election cycle "should be a wake-up call to Washington DC."
Mr Cruz suspended his campaign one week ago when Mr Trump won Indiana, pushing Ohio Governor John Kasich out of the race and leaving the New York real estate mogul the all-but-certain nominee.
Earlier in the day, Mr Cruz teased that he might jump back into the race should he win Nebraska's primary Tuesday, but he essentially put that to rest later in Washington.
"Let's be clear, we're not going to win Nebraska," he said.
"We've withdrawn from the campaign and it's in the hands of the voters." With Republican concern swirling about the abrasive presumptive nominee and the shifting substance of his candidacy, several party grandees have refused to endorse Mr Trump.
Others have called for a more conservative candidate to go up against Mr Trump and his likely Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.
Mr Cruz refused to say whether he would endorse Mr Trump or encourage his supporters to do so.
"There will be plenty of time for voters to make the determination of who they're going to support," Mr Cruz said.
"It will be incumbent on the candidates in this race to make the case to the people that they will fight for them." Mr Cruz said he was "privileged and humbled" to have mounted his campaign, and that as a senator he will continue to promote the conservative movement.
"The American people are fed up with the disasters of the Obama-Clinton economy, and this movement will continue," he said.